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Ratification of ILO Core Conventions Is a Sovereign Matter, KEF Says
EU Steps up Pressure on Korea for Ratification
Ratification of ILO Core Conventions Is a Sovereign Matter, KEF Says
  • By Jung Suk-yee
  • April 10, 2019, 08:50
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Minister of Employment and Labor Lee Jae-kap meets with European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström in Seoul on April 9.

The Korea Employers Federation (KEF) stressed that the ratification of ILO core conventions is a sovereign matter to be decided by South Korea and a balance should be sought between employers’ and employees’ stances.

Earlier, European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström said on April 9 that an expert panel procedure for FTA dispute settlement will have to be initiated unless South Korea comes up with a tangible result for the ratification.

The KEF remarked in response that the ratification is a matter to be decided not under the European Union’s trade pressure but based on the nature of South Korea’s labor-management relations and its laws and systems related to labor affairs. “The South Korean government will discuss the matter on an equal footing with the European Union in accordance with Article 13 of the Korea-EU FTA,” it said, adding, “Unlike in Europe, unionized workers in South Korea are exercising their labor rights to the point of abuse based on their power superiority and the militant labor unions have deteriorated labor-management relations and South Korea’s international competitiveness by causing high costs and low efficiency.”

“For these problems to be addressed and for any progress in labor-management relations to be achieved, employers’ requests must be met along with enhancement of workers’ rights to organize for the ratification and the requests include elimination of lopsided labor practice regulations and the ban on alternative work that fundamentally impairs employers’ production activities,” the KEF continued to say.

It also said that workers should not take advantage of the European Union’s demand for the ratification in order to neutralize employers’ stance and requests and the government should address the matter in a perfectly balanced manner. “The most urgent issue is severe labor-management conflicts rather than the non-ratification regarding the rights to organize,” it said.